UmojaHack Africa 2021, a machine learning hackathon that connects African undergraduates and postgraduate students has ended. The event which was hosted virtually on Zindi connected over 1000 students from 126 universities across Africa between the 27th and 28th of March 2021.

Over 8500 submissions were made on Zindi from students across 21 African countries. The countries include; Algeria, Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. UmojaHack Africa gave out over $10,000 in prizes to data science students from 9 African countries.

The UmojaHack Africa 2021 hackathon had three machine learning challenges. A financial resilience prediction challenge, a logistics challenge for African B2B service provider Sendy, and a computational biology challenge using the DeepChain™ platform developed by InstaDeep. The winning solutions developed by Zindi users will be shared with these organizations and deployed in real-world applications.

In winning second place in the 'Sendy Delivery Rider Response Challenge', Tony Mipawa, a data science student from the University of Dodoma, Tanzania, epitomized the spirit of Zindi and of UmojaHack.

A year ago, Tony was a data science novice until he participated in Zindi’s first ever Mentorship Programme in 2020. He has since grown in leaps and bounds, winning the hackathon less than a year later.

According to Tony, “I’m very happy with the outcome. My advice is, whenever there is an opportunity to learn, you should take it. Learning is all about passion.

Whenever there is an opportunity to learn, put your whole effort into it, do it well. Try to learn from anyone you meet. I would like to thank Zindi for what that mentorship programme gave me.”

UmojaHack Africa 2021 was sponsored by some leading names in the global and African tech, AI and financial sectors, including InstaDeep, Standard Bank Group , Microsoft, DeepMind, NVIDIA, and Old Mutual.

They were integral in making the event a success by offering financial and professional development prizes. They also contribute their expertise and excitement to the event, and supporting UmojaHack Africa 2021 through their own channels.

Chris Lwanga, Principal Director for Software Partnerships at Microsoft said, “we are incredibly excited about this event spanning over 100 African universities and helping thousands of African students leverage their data science and AI skills to solve African problems. At Microsoft we believe in empowering every organisation and person to do more.”

Adrian Vermooten, Chief Innovation Officer, Standard Bank Group said, “Standard Bank is deeply invested in funding and implementing critical data science skills development programmes, such as Zindi’s UmojaHack Africa 2021 hackathon, to position Africa as a serious competitor in the world’s rapidly emerging data-driven sector."

According to Karim Beguir, Co-Founder and CEO of InstaDeep, “we are delighted to support UmojaHack Africa again, an incredible initiative close to our hearts. Seeing students from more than 120 universities come together to collaborate on real-world machine learning challenges is truly inspiring.

This is, in our opinion, the best way to accelerate AI growth on the continent. Hackathons like UmojaHack bring us one step closer to achieving InstaDeep’s mission: building an AI-first world that benefits everyone.”

Celina Lee, CEO of Zindi said, “UmojaHack Africa has proven to be a game-changing event, especially when so many young people have been impacted by the global pandemic. This is a chance for students from across the continent to come together to learn, compete, and have fun.

UmojaHack is about building skills, creating new machine learning applications to solve problems that really matter, while forging new connections among the students as well as with industry. We are incredibly excited to see what the students come up with in just one weekend.”

Zindi is a data science competition platform on a mission to build a thriving data science ecosystem in Africa. We host a community of more than 24 000 data scientists across Africa and beyond, dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing challenges through machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Data scientists of all levels come to Zindi to hone their skills, build their professional profile, connect with job opportunities, and to share ideas with their peers across Africa and beyond.